The Lord’s Rejection of Popular Ministry
1Co 2:1-5 And I, when I came to you, brothers, did not come proclaiming to you the testimony of God with lofty speech or wisdom. (2) For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. (3) And I was with you in weakness and in fear and much trembling, (4) and my speech and my message were not in plausible words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, (5) so that your faith might not rest in the wisdom of men but in the power of God.
We have put these verses in a prominent place on the sidebar of our home page because they identify so much of what is making evil comfortable in the churches today. Think of it. Here the Apostle Paul clearly states what his philosophy and method of Christian ministry was, and remains so today. This is the Lord’s model and command to every Christian in all ages.
- Rejection of “lofty” speech and worldly wisdom which so many are using to gain large followings
- The centrality of Christ and His cross
- A humble heart that acknowledges weakness in itself, accompanied by a reverential fear of the Lord
- Reliance upon the Holy Spirit to empower the message of Christ crucified and risen, not upon man’s worldly reasoning
- Acknowledgement then that it is the power of God which saves, not in the worldly methods of men
There is a plague among us today in the visible Christian church – a plague of men relying upon human wisdom, human loftiness of speech, human power, to supposedly “build” Christ’s church. This has resulted in false churches, false converts, a false spirit, and widespread evil in people who claim to belong to Christ.
Last week I was driving through a nearby town and saw a construction project on the grounds of a church there. On the outside wall of the unfinished building was a big banner that said, “Our new worship center, glory to God.” Really? I suppose it could be to the glory of God but most likely the money was raised by worldly methods motivating worldly people for the glory of men. And in the midst of it all, evil lurks.
If that all sounds too negative, too dismal, too critical to you, read Paul’s words above once again and then think very, very carefully about what really goes on in the typical programs (like this building program I saw) behind the scenes in these churches. Or think about what happens on Sunday mornings in gatherings that claim to be worshiping the Lord. Do you see Paul’s doctrine and method being played out? Do you see sermons preached and Bible classes taught that do what our Lord did:
Joh 6:26 Jesus answered them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, you are seeking me, not because you saw signs, but because you ate your fill of the loaves.
Joh 6:63-67 It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh is no help at all. The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life. (64) But there are some of you who do not believe.” (For Jesus knew from the beginning who those were who did not believe, and who it was who would betray him.) (65) And he said, “This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless it is granted him by the Father.” (66) After this many of his disciples turned back and no longer walked with him. (67) So Jesus said to the Twelve, “Do you want to go away as well?”
No, this would be counted as failure in ministry today. Jesus offended the crowds. And they left.